Growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas, grounded me. In college, a professor pointed out to me, “You’ve written this poem for people who know who Agamemnon was.” I went into shock. I didn’t want to write stuff my own family (or common people) wouldn’t read. After being racked by stress, I saw the answer. Use Mark Twain as a model—serious subjects, approached in language anyone can read.
When I moved to New York City, I was a total ignoramus. I didn’t know what pastrami was, what a subway was, what acceptable dress in class at Columbia University was, etc. Yet I had the greatest time of my life.
My years at the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner empowered me. Went from drama critic to movie critic to entertainment editor in six months. Met some of the most famous people in the world—writers, directors and actors—became good friends with some, learned from many, and realized I could do this.
When writing The Darkness Rolling, I learned that my darling wife Meredith and I can collaborate and come up with a really nifty book.
If I could interview Jim Bridger, I’d ask how many Indian wives is the right number.
If I were a mountain man, I’d be fulfilling my motto in life, “I do what I want to do.”
Give Your Heart to the Hawks has been a miracle. Forty-two years consecutively in print!
To make a living as a writer: First, you must speak from the heart. Second, you must be heard.
The canyonlands of Utah—to quote my friend Ed Abbey—“This is the most beautiful place on earth. There are many such places.”
The freedom I found in the mountains was that I could truly rely on myself, and I would come through for me, and my partners. The importance of that cannot be understated.
Spiritually, I am a pipe carrier, a leader of the sweat lodge, the grateful receiver of many visions, a sun dancer. In short, I walk the red road.
When I got caught in the whiteout near Palm Springs, California (!!!), I spent two nights alone in howling winds, far below zero, with no sleeping bag, no parka, no food or water. I made up my mind to live. And barely did. But my feet will never be the same.
People would be surprised to know I took several trapeze lessons in my 70s.
I almost became a classical musician. Most people don’t know that I play accordion, tuba, piano and more.
Western films have it easy. They don’t have to work to create the main character—the landscape.
The Navajo people taught me the wonder of magic in stories.
My favorite Western word is chile.
If William Shakespeare wrote about the West, he’d have written the same stories.
WIN BLEVINS, OWEN WISTER WINNER
The 2015 recipient of the Owen Wister Award, given by the Western Writers of America for lifetime contributions to Western literature, Win Blevins has authored more than 30 books, including the Spur-winning novels Stone Song: A Novel of the Life of Crazy Horse and So Wild a Dream. His first book, Give Your Heart to the Hawks, was published in 1973. He worked for 15 years as an editor for Forge at Macmillan Publishing. He lives in Bluff, Utah, with his wife, mystery novelist Meredith Blevins, with whom he has written his latest novel,The Darkness Rolling.